Clean Up Australia Day: our 7 main litter problems, and how to fix them.

Downward dog to kick off clean up australia day with more yoga less trash diveplanit blog banner

Happy Clean Up Australia Day! A day each year that puts a spotlight on our ongoing litter problems – and they ain’t going away.

On Clean Up Australia Day this year, Diveplanit joined More Yoga Less Trash in Manly Cove (organised by More Tunes Less Trash) for a little limbering-up before the bending and stooping – and what a great turn out it was!

Clean Up Australia Day with a difference More Yoga Less Trash by More Tunes Less Trash a great way to limber up before you start.

After a 1-hour yoga session, the clean-up started, and we started to come across the same old trash that we find year after year. So we thought we’d outline the major issues and show you how easy/hard these pollution problems might be solved.

1. Containers

Sacks of containers collected: what’s the solution? Actually, the solution to this is really easy (paying attention Mike Baird?) It’s a proper Container Deposit Scheme as advocated by the Boomerang Alliance. It works really well in South Australia, who have the highest recycling rate in Australia, and the funds support community groups who collect the containers, such as Scouts Australia.

Clean Up Australia Day still yields too many containers we need a proper Container Deposit Scheme

2. Take Away Cups

Next big culprit: plastic lined single use takeaway cups – both coffee and tea. But wait there’s a solution for that too! Get a reusable cup for when you’re out and about or if you’re just popping next door for a real coffee use a real coffee mug. You’ll find quite a few cafés selling them these days or you can order them online.

3. Straws

Let’s face it straws suck. Do you still need a straw at your age – seriously? These are one of the 10 most common plastic marine pollutants. There are plenty alternatives like steel straws if you desperately need one. Some local Manly establishments, like Hemingway’s Manly, are even leading the way and going ‘strawless’, offering reusable stainless steel straws if you really need one.

Clean Up Australia Day still yields straws which we could easily do without or replace with alternatives

4. Plastic Water Bottles

Seriously? Still?  There are water refill stations every 50m along Manly’s Esplanades, North and South Steyne and the Corso. Get yourself a nice trendy stainless steel one, it will last forever.

5. Butts, Butts and more Butts

Not sure how many cigarette butts I have seen collectively picked out of the sand over the years I’ve been doing clean-ups at Manly, probably enough to fill several wheelie bins.

Every Clean Up Australia Day we find cigarette butts by the bucket loads in the sand where children play day after day

Just because you stub it out in the sand and bury it a couple inches doesn’t mean it goes away. Neither does the cadmium, arsenic nor lead that are filtered out of the smoke by that filter. The sand that contains that butt is the same sand that kids play in day after day. Why subject them to toxins because you’re too lazy to bin it?

6. Plastic Bags

Easiest solution? Ban them. Our leaders need to stop procrastinating and join Australia’s other states and territories that have already banned them. Not complicated. In the short term (while our pollies carry on procrastinating) is to pick up a reusable bag at your local supermarket. Or – if you’re a local business, replace them with Eco Media Bags – which are free.

What better way to spend Clean Up Australia Day than with friends cleaning up

7. Laziness

Last and surely most offensive – this kind of litter. Left within metres of a bin by litter bugs too lazy to stand and walk the 10 steps to the bin (behind the bus stop).

Especially disheartening this Clean Up Australia Day was to see all this MacDonald’s trash left by litter louts from the prior evening

Maybe a month of community service (with the sole activity being the picking up of litter) would work better than a fine for these guys?